The Dangers of Estate Plan of Collectively Entitling Bank Accounts with a Child

In Estate Planning by Taylor Stevens

When one is coming up with an estate plan there is a common practice that some individuals participate in. That practice is putting their name on a checking account with their child or what is also called having the checking account entitled jointly. There are factors to title a bank account jointly with a child that would persuade someone that this would be a great idea.

A primary factor why a moms and dad would do this is that the child would have access to the account instantly if the moms and dad became incapacitated or died. There would not need to be conservator procedures when it comes to incapacity or probate proceedings when it comes to death. The bank account would pass straight to the child. This can be a dangerous estate plan. If a child owes loan or has debt, then that child’s financial institutions could attach the financial obligation to the jointly savings account while you are still alive to pay debts that a child may potentially owe.
The child might likewise clear the account themselves since their name is on the account jointly. The most typical case is that a child will not clear the entire account, however rather “borrow” from it to pay bills or costs. Borrowing from the account to pay daily bills might be a hassle-free source of cash for the child, however might trigger arguments and disputes when the moms and dad gets their bank declaration or the child is not in a rush to pay it back. A better way to title a savings account is to make a POD (payable on death) designation on the account. This POD classification just needs a basic form to fill out at your bank. This enables the exact same benefits of collectively entitling the account because it avoids probate after death, but it secures the account from being targeted by a child’s creditors or from being withdrawn from by a child. A general durable power of attorney enables a child to access a checking account when it comes to incapacity of a moms and dad without having to jointly title the bank account.

Jointly entitling an account with a child can be an easy and cheap estate plan, however risky. The simple way out would be to both have title in an account, the alternative is not that much more complex or expensive. Consulting with an estate planning lawyer to come up with an estate plan is much less pricey than having to tidy up a mess that titling in both names has the possible to develop.